Friday, June 29, 2007

Profile of a Hero

For your reading pleasure, I have something for you that JDub wrote.

But first, a little background. JDub has decided to go back to school. He's done with his current job situation and finally the pain of remaining where he is is greater than the pain of returning to school. We both have mixed feelings about this. It'll be a tough few years, but I'm excited that he's jumping back in.

But, before he begins his quest, he has one thing that he must accomplish. English 2010. This will be the FIFTH time that he has taken it. Every other time he has either dropped it or failed it. Not because he can't do the work, just because... Well, I have no idea why. Neither does he.

For his first assignment, his teacher asked him to write a profile of himself from any viewpoint.

What he wrote was just delightful.

So, without further ado, I give you JDub.

As I undertake to write this forward to what will undoubtedly be a voluminous account of his heroic deeds, I can't help but think - what if HE had been ME. Of course I am wakened from this fallacy by my own subtle understanding of this man, nay this LEGEND. I can scarcely describe even a fraction of his greatness and any attempt to constrain his stupendous distinction to mere words is hopelessly inadequate. Letting brevity champion, I will try.

Exactly three and a half jamillion years ago history as we know it was forever changed. Though just the merest of insignificant blips on the cosmic radar, one cannot begin to insubstantiate the birth of the leader. The timing of his birth, in Berlin, Germany on the continent of Europe pertaining to the planet then called Earth, is nothing short of celestial. Scarcely could his parents have foreseen the impact their human son would have in the universe so many years later.

From the beginning, his enemies were at work to tear down and destroy any mention of this great man. He heroically triumphed over the many childhood scourges known as Chicken Pox and Growing Pains. He barely glanced at adolescent attacks of Acne and Love Sickness. Indeed, all these maladies served only to strengthen him. And though his enemies sought to erase him, going so far as to delete from the geography of the time the very place of his birth and the dwellings of his childhood, they cannot deny the man he became.

There was a terrific battle, as we all remember, that took place towards the latter part of his childhood. As he breezed through the intellectual speed bumps of academia, his enemies - the enemies of all civilization - were mounting their most daring attempt to thwart him. Their secret weapon -- codenamed English 2010 -- was so feared by most that it was barely mentioned. Few understood the depravity and baseness of this weapon, yet so concentrated was it's intensity and so targeted were it's implications upon our courageous leader that, even now, we mention English 2010 with reverence.

The enemies mounted their attack four times over the course of 7 grueling years. Mere mortals would have withered at the prospect of this hideous weapon directed not once but five times at our hero. After the fourth time the enemy thought our hero defeated. He had disappeared, apparently in defeat. The scholarly annals make no mention of him for 3 years. During this time of anonymity, instead of being resigned to the scourging of defeat, our hero used his concealment as preparation time to mount his deathblow.

The enemy had increased in vanity and power, seemingly unstoppable.

With swift accuracy and indescribable prowess, our hero struck that decisive August in Earth Year 2007. English 2010 was vanquished forever. I need not detail the events of that battle, as every child knows the story before they turn even four years old. I yield, as do we all, and submit my greatest respect to our hero, known to one and all as JDub The Great.


They have attacked. I have the first two mosquito bites of the summer. On my feet!!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

You Must Read This

Written so beautifully by one of the most amazing women I have ever known. Such an achingly truthful post about the transitions she is facing and the things she is learning at this point in her life.

I hope it will make you feel as open and encouraged as it made me feel.

Here is the link:


Monday, June 25, 2007


I love this guy.

Isn't this one of the cutest things you've ever seen. I love just his head poking out.

Tada! Paper hats at the Japanese Culture Fair on the last day of school.

My heart melts every time I see this one.

Sucking in his bottom lip.

Whatcha Talkin' About

Mommy Son Date

My Cute Date

He was disappointed. His friend got the comics page and he got stuck with this lousy ad page.

In a tower at the park.

Happy in the sling.

Sweet, sweet baby

Friday, June 22, 2007

Working Toward Beautiful

The bleach has not made it out of the closet yet, even though everyone is back to normal now. (Well, Scud's nose may still be broken, but...) As happens often, my poet self has subjected my housecleaning self to her will. If only I could spin the magic of a lovely, clean house in words. Trust me, people would be begging to tour my home at all hours. :) If I could learn to give my full attention and joy to my home the way I give it to my poetry, life would be different around here. But, alas, I must embrace the gifts I have and hope to continue developing other abilities.

The mop bucket really will find its way out of hiding today.


For now, I want to share something I wrote today. It is long. It's rough, but it made me feel happy and wriggly and light. I hope it does the same for you.

Working Toward Beautiful

I was never that kind of pageant girl.
My mother didn't cake my face with makeup
or dress me like a Vegas show girl
at five years old.
But I do remember standing in the hall,
playing fives with Daddy
just before I pranced onto the stage
in the ballroom of the Marriott.

And I can still recall
growing up surrounded
by What gorgeous eyes she has.
and What a pretty little girl.
Thank heaven for my mother
who cocooned me in gentle reminders.
What matters it that you're beautiful inside.
What matters is how you treat people.
And my vanity was kept in check.
Until I turned fourteen
and I was very vain.

But soon I knew.

I didn't want to be a vase
beautiful to look at but mostly pointless
if not graced by flowers
of kindness, knowledge,
strength, serenity.

And so I spurn the pages of Glamour,
dismiss the beauty tips in Vogue
and look for a higher paradigm of loveliness.

Like Doris, who once told me
I am grateful for the life I've lived,
words that didn't need to be uttered.
They were written in the stillness of her blue eyes
and in the skin around them
carved through, like clay,
with rivulets of joy and pain.

And gentle Clara, crowned by snow white hair,
her blessed hands bear the spots of age.
Her fingers are bent, spindly,
a testament to tireless hours,
holding fourteen children,
kneading bread dough with love,
wisely canning peaches.
I'm sure those hands have dried a million tears.

And Linda, whose carriage calls out volumes
about loving the moment,
feeling satisfied with what is.
Her deep voice lulls and comforts,
each word singing songs
of compassion and understanding.

These women know secrets
that beauty editors will never tell.

So now I stand,
staring at my reflection in a stolen moment,
making peace
learning to love
a waist gone soft,
and hips spread wide,
stretch marks running over all
like lines of a map
showing the journey I've taken
giving life to four souls,
loving and losing an angel.
Breasts no longer firm and buoyant,
but hanging low and soft
from years of tender service
as babes grew to children.
I smile at the silver
streaking liberally
through waves of mahogany.
Squinting, I search for wrinkles
around my eyes
in my forehead.
What stories they call back to me
of care and concern, love, patience, worry.
I notice for the first time,
my eyelids are more wrinkled, sunken
than they were a decade ago
and gladly embrace the wrinkles
that form canyons on both sides of my mouth.
I love what they tell me.
I've smiled often, and generously,
laughed deep, throaty laughs
and witch-like cackles
every day.

Examining this version of me,
I silence voices of
Where have I gone?
and cocoon myself once more
in gentle reminders of what really matters.

I'm getting there.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bring Out the Raincoats and Let the Bleach Flow Like Water


It has been a long week. I woke up Tuesday and had to keep reminding myself that it wasn't Thursday. It's been long.

On Monday we went to Hannah Paige's Memorial Service. It was a beautiful service. Her parents are very loved. Kaitybean and I had the honor of singing along with another sister-in-law. Then, we had a luncheon.

Oh, but let me back up.

Before this, the night before actually, Mashuga started in with vomiting and diarrhea. We were up most of the night with him. Then, when we woke up he acted like he felt just fine. So, we got everyone dressed and went to the service. My Mom and I in one car with the kids, JDub in another car so he could go to work afterward. We live about five minutes at most from the cemetary. The service was about to start and JDub wasn't there. So I called and found out that he was on his way to the cemetary in the community north of us, whic is about 30 minutes away from our house. Oh boy.

The rest of that day was lovely, with a luncheon afterward. Then, my sister, her fiance and my mom came to my house to visit and play with us. My mom re-taught me how to play rummy and we played a few rounds.

Then, the next day came. I woke up to the sound of Scud heaving into the toilet. Yuck. Sure enough, he'd caught the stomach bug that Mashuga had. Well, we've had swimming lessons at 10:30 every morning for the last two weeks. They'd already missed a lesson when we went to Hannah's service. So, I thought I'd better take at least Kaitybean and Mashuga to their lessons. I talked to Scud about it and he agreed that he'd be able to come and sit in the balcony during their lessons. No sooner than we'd gotten situated in the balcony than he began throwing up. Oh, dear. I'll spare you all the details, but I did manage to get him to the car and get the other kids from lessons and go home.

Well, that was small potatoes. Yesterday Coco started throwing up. I tell you, there's not much worse than a vomiting baby. He was so miserable and has continued to be. I thought he was all done throwing up. He started at 8am yesterday and continued pretty steadily until 4:30am this morning. Then, he woke up at 7am, ate A LOT and slept for a few hours. He's been good. Then, about 30 minutes ago he threw up all over me again. He and I have showered a lot in the last couple of days.

Oh, and I forgot to tell you. Scud tripped and fell right on his nose. I think it may be broken. We're waiting for the swelling to go down so that we can see if it's really broken and what they can do for it.

So, I'm about to call the doctor to see what I can do for Coco and whether or not I need to bring him in. I'm worried about him getting dehydrated and vomiting for over 24 hours seems a bit dangerous in a 5 month old. Maybe it'll be a good time to take Scud in and we can just do a two-fer.

Through all this, I'm just laughing inside. Laughing and laughing. What else can you do? I just keep pausing and thinking how humorous it is that THIS is my life.

Oh, and I'm trying to ignore the flat of strawberries on my counter that are growing into little gray fuzzballs. I bought them on Saturday with the intent to make jam. I thought that the only things I'd have to do this week were Hannah's service and then swimming lessons.

Someone has a sense of humor and I'm just doing my best to try to get the joke.

I can't wait for all of this to slow down so that I can douse my entire home in bleach.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Women's Support

So, there is a website and email list called Daily Om. I absolutely love it. Today's inspiration especially hit home for me, as this is something I feel called to do in my professional work and really feel is important. Enjoy!

And if you'd like to read more, you can go to

Women's Support
Becoming Our Own Role Models

As women embrace the fullness of who they are as individuals, they may find themselves supporting other women, helping others to reach the level of inner comfort and outer freedom that they themselves have found. Among those who are less sure of themselves and their place in the world, it may be more common to criticize other women than to seek their help. But there are things that a woman can only learn from another woman, as there are things about being a man that can only be learned from other men. We all recognize that we have much to learn from each other regardless of gender, but sometimes we could use a supportive role model that gives us a more precise example of what and who we can become.

There was a time where women stood together in a bond of sisterhood, women supporting women. It is only natural that the pendulum swings out of balance for a while so that we may have the experience of what we do not want. It is up to women to bring the pendulum back into balance and bring back the sacred sisterhood we yearn for at our core.

If we envision a world where women support each other and help each other find their place in an ever-changing world, then we can become the change we want to see. Jealousy, envy, criticism, and judgment are refuges for the insecure. As we help others to become self-assured, we create a world in which all people help each other, regardless of gender. Only women can make the change in how women are seen and understood, not just by other women but by the world at large. The way we speak about each other to other women and to the men in our lives informs everyone to treat us with the respect that all women, and all people, deserve.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

Well, my Dad is in Turkey right now for work. And my Father-In-Law lives in Germany. So, both of my Dads are halfway around the world for Father's Day. So, I thought I'd take a minute to thank them here for being so wonderful. I feel like I've been doubly blessed in the father department.

First, I was raised by one of the most wonderful fathers in the whole world. He has always worked hard to provide for our family and I have been very grateful for that. I remember waking up at dawn to have breakfast with him. The sun hadn't even come up yet and my Daddy was in the kitchen making bacon and eggs. I'd eat with him and go back to bed. It wasn't until years later that I realized that he didn't get to go back to sleep after that, but really went to work that early. Every day. It was even later that I realized how much of a sacrifice that was for him. I am grateful for a father who did all he could to provide for his family and who is a hard, dedicated worker.

And I'm also grateful that, as hard as he worked, he always seemed to have time for me. He attended soccer games and softball games, plays, concerts, performances. We played catch in the backyard and at the high school across the street. He took me on motorcycle rides. We had softball games and flew kites and went swimming. I am so grateful for a daddy who played with me.

He always took the time to listen to me and trusted me to be and to do my very best. He taught me the importance of continuing to learn, whether you're going to school or not.

My Dad is the type of person that everyone loves. He is generous, kind, helpful and genuine. He will do just about anything for anyone. He loves others unconditionally and sees past so many of the trappings of social standing that many of us get caught by. I think people love him mostly because of how he makes them feel about themselves. I know that's part of why I love him. He has always made me feel beautiful, capable, special, worthwhile. I have never doubted my worth because I could always see it in my father's eyes.

Then, I grew up and got married and got the bonus of a wonderful Father-In-Law. He also makes me feel special and important. In a different way, because he's only known me as an adult, but I am so grateful for his love for me and my children. And of course I feel so grateful for the way he has loved, led and raised my wonderful husband.

He was always a good example to his children. He is also a hard-worker and all of his boys have learned to work hard as a result. He is intelligent and witty, gentle and warm. And he is a very good listener, which is one of the traits I admire most. He took the time to read with his children and pray with them. He has served either in or for the military for most of his adult life and fought in the Gulf War. He prefers to watch television laying on the ground and he loves to crack random jokes and laugh harder at himself than anyone else could ever laugh at him. (Two endearing traits my sweetheart has inherited.) I am glad to call him my Father-In-Law and that my children call him Opa.

Like I said, I have been doubly blessed in the father department. I don't know why I'm so fortunate, but I know that I am.

Happy Father's Day

Friday, June 15, 2007

Blogs That Make Me Think

Well, what do you know? My dear friend, the Duchess, gave me a nice birthday present a while ago by including me in a list of blogs that make her think. I was surprised an flattered.

I am happily playing along, even if I'm just now getting around to posting this.

The rules of the award are as follows:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (silver version, gold version).

So, without further ado, here are a few blogs that make me think.

1. Brooke at Urban Earth Mama is one of the most phenomenal women I have ever met. She is beautiful, inside and out. Inside even more than out. And visiting her blog is always a treat for me. She always makes me look at things in a new light. I could list a hundred quotes from her blog that have brought on "Aha!" moments for me, but her post about Walter especially got me thinking about the training I should be giving my children in compassion and social awareness. Like Brooke, I hope I'm doing a good job.

Here's what she had to say:

We must find a balance between honoring his observances (Walter's teeth are funny) and teaching him when kindness dictates that we keep our thoughts to ourselves. I want him to be the kid the teacher can count on to partner with the wonky kid and be a safe haven in a cruel world NOT the tormentor and certainly not the nasty ring leader.
Brooke, I'll let my kids play with yours any day.

2. Lena at Cheeky Lotus makes me laugh my guts out. And somehow she makes me think at the same time. And she is a MASTER at titles.

Take this one for example: No Nipples Were Actually Hurt In the Making Of This Post

Here's a quote:
Having my breastfeeding capabilities questioned caused me to mentally step back and take inventory of my motivations for continuing to struggle with breastfeeding despite my body's unwillingness. I realized that I had been so wrapped up in judging MYSELF and berating MYSELF for what my body SHOULD be doing that I had lost sight of the end goal: to have a HEALTHY baby.

And it wasn't until someone else made me angry doing the same thing I was doing to myself - judging - that I was able to snap out of it and make the adjustments that were ...wait for it...RIGHT FOR ME AND MY BABY.

3.Yet another woman who makes me laugh so hard I snort, is Chris over at Notes From The Trenches. She is a mother of many who truly gets it. Motherhood is not always pretty, but always worth it. And she has a sassy streak that I just adore. I would love to go to the park and chat with her some day.

She goes back and forth between making me laugh, making me think and reminding me how glorious this mothering business really is.

From a recent post on her blog at

We have a little ritual, she and I. As I walk out of her bedroom for the night, I'll pause at the door and say to her, "I love you."

She replies, "I love you better."

But I know the truth. She couldn't possibly.

4. Another real friend, over at Birthsongs, is one of my favorite people. Her blog gives me hope and makes me think. I don't visit it often, because every time I do, I end up there for HOURS ON END. She has this quote on her sidebar:
"Sometimes the victory is that you just keep trying."
And if that isn't enough, here's a quote from one of her recent posts, Time For the End of the Year Awards.
This year, I have gotten 5 kids ready for school every day. In addition to that feat of stamina and endurance, it was all done without yelling. Seriously.
Okay, that got my attention. I think I'll be calling her soon to see exactly how she managed that. Go read her blog. She has some interesting things to say about birth, too, if you're interested.

5. I love to read Lazy Daisy's Blog. She is such an optimistic and uplifting woman and her blog always makes me smile. And, being a daisy girl myself, the floating daisies on her site always lift my heart. :)

Her post, Some Thoughts On Flying, was especially nice to read. Daisy, I appreciate the faith and joy that shine through in your blog.

Honorable mentions (Am I allowed to do this? Well, it's my blog, so I guess so!):

My friend, Edge, makes me think nearly every time I talk to her or read her blog. I couldn't find any really quotable stuff on her blog, so I didn't put her in my five. But, she makes me think in very unconventional ways. (Yes, Edge, I used the word unconventional when referring to you. Don't act so surprised!) I appreciate her and promise her blog is worth a visit.

The Duchess at Yarnnation is the one who tagged me for this, and she's already been tagged. So, I won't include her. But she certainly does make me think. On both of her blogs!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Beauty For Ashes

I have been drawn to Isaiah a lot lately. I used to find Isaiah rather intimidating, but lately it has come alive for me. It is pure poetry.

I have especially found myself reading chapter 61 over and over and over. It has been especially moving recently as our family has dealt with tragedy.

My sweet niece, Hannah Paige, was born on June 9th. Her mom, who is one of my best friends and favorite people, had been having some problems with bleeding because of placenta previa. On Saturday, they had to deliver Hannah by c-section because her mom was losing too much blood. She was only at about 21 weeks gestation and survived for about 20 minutes. I won't get into too much of the story, as it's not mine to tell.

But I have been surprised by how tender my feelings have been over the last few days. I feel comforted and blessed by an inner knowledge that families are forever, that sweet Hannah is not forever lost. But that doesn't always make right now any easier. My heart has been open and feeling so deeply for her sweet family, my brother and sister and nephews who I love beyond words.

And I have been re-feeling the loss of the sweet child I miscarried almost two years ago. And holding my sweet Jack, also, and feeling something akin to survivor's guilt. Baby guilt, maybe?

So, I keep coming back to Isaiah. And the imagery is beautiful.

The Savior was sent to "bind up the broken hearted", to "proclaim liberty to the captives".

There will be beauty for ashes.

The oil of joy for mourning.

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

Through affliction we can become as trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord.

The old wastes and desolations will be built up. Restored.

For our shame, we will receive a double portion.

We will rejoice in our afflictions as well as our joys.

All will be well, sanctified, consecrated for good in the end.

What beautiful words these are. And though the pain of right now may be so much to handle, I have no doubt that all things work together for our good.

There is not a pain, an affliction, a mistake in my life that I have not felt has been turned to a higher purpose, consecrated and made sacred.

There is nothing to fear, truly, for all will be made whole, made sacred, made good in the end. Loss is a gift every bit as much as any joy.

And so I weep and give the mother earth of my salty tears, hoping that I am truly mourning with those who mourn and that I can comfort and love and hold a space for healing and for joy.

Because I believe the words of Isaiah. I believe that, no matter what happens to us, we will be bound up, blessed and strengthened. And I would not trade a single loss I've endured for any amount of joy, for I know that in the end I would be left with less.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Happy Birthday to my cute sister!

Here are some pictures of her and her fantastic fiance, Ben. I hope it doesn't freak him out that I love him so much even though we barely know each other. I just can't help being a huge fan of someone who is so good to my sister and makes her glow like this. Love you both!

Happy birthday to my favorite girlfriend!

Friday, June 08, 2007

It's Gotta Suck

I'm sure that you can imagine that with four kids (usually 5 or 6) and a dog running around here all day, this house gets mighty dirty. Now, I'm not so good at keeping up with that as it is. But, now our vacuum has officially died. It actually still sucks, but the brush head no longer works.

So, we're in the market for a new vacuum. We especially need one that will pick up lots of dog fur.

We don't mind spending a bit of money, as we really want to get a quality product that will last us a while.

So, this is a plea for help. Do you have a really good vacuum? What are its pros and cons?

Or do you have a vacuum that you really hate and recommend against?

Even if you've never commented here, would you be so kind as to shimmy out of the woodwork and help us out?


Monday, June 04, 2007

Cause I'm Nerdy

So, I saw this in a case at the library today and my heart was giddily aflutter. I just can't wait to devour this book. I keep telling myself "Savor! Savor, Heather! It's the last one." No, I think I'm going to preorder it on amazon and read it cover to cover in a day. Because, really, I'm nerdy like that.


Some things I'd like to accomplish by this time next year:

  • Be able to speak Spanish well enough to carry on a good conversation with my Spanish-speaking neighbors
  • Be out of debt
  • Be a certified Birthing From Within Mentor
  • Enter some poetry contests and possibly publish some poems
  • Begin writing one of the three books I have outlined in my head
  • Learn to be less self-conscious, more compassionate
  • Do my laundry

iPhones and Apple Monsters

So, ten years ago I introduced JDub to one of my favorite products -- Apple computers. I had no idea that I was creating a monster. He is now THE Apple enthusiast of all Apple enthusiasts.

So, you can be sure that he is anxiously awaiting the release of the iPhone. He's even willing to switch providers to get it.

I found this article (Apple execs admit to iPhone anxiety) interesting, as I keep wondering when the "Apple can do no wrong" bubble will burst.

Also, you can check out the full NYTimes article here.

Just to make it clear, I'm a pretty huge apple fan myself and will probably be switching this blog over to an apple created iweb site soon. Watch for it.

read more | digg story

Friday, June 01, 2007

Numbers Game

I am the mother of four.

I am learning that the more children you have, the more the numbers in your life grow.

Because I am the mother of four, every time we go anywhere I am responsible for clothing five total people. Sometimes I even have to make sure JDub is dressed appropriately before we head out the door.

This means ten socks. Ten shoes. Seldom are they where they should be.

Now, this part HAS gotten easier as my children have become more independent. But any mother knows that just because a child is at the age where he can dress himself doesn't mean that he really always dresses himself. Cries of "Mom, where is my...?" and "Mom, I can't find...!" abound.

This means that I have five mouths to feed on a daily basis. Three meals a day plus snacks in between -- a minimum of 21 meals a day. Oh and there's JDub. I prepare food for him at least once a day.

And buying the food is no picnic either, especially since gas prices put the grocery guys out of business. On Monday, Mashuga, Coco and I went to Target. There we purchased a heaping cart full of food for one week. When we got to the checkout line we found that all of our groceries would not fit back into one cart. So, I managed to get two small children and two full carts out to our car. Then, I loaded approximately 40 bags and other assorted items from the car to the house. I won't even estimate how many individual items I then put away. I'm guessing it is about one hundred.

Having four children means about 12 loads of laundry each week. Or more.

It means that I am responsible for the cleaning and trimming of 100 fingernails and toenails on a weekly basis.

I am the one must try to make sure that approximately 100 teeth get cleaned twice a day. More when Coco actually gets teeth.

That means a minimum of ten dentists appointments per year.

An average of twelve doctor's visits per year.

At least six rolls of toilet paper, seven pull-ups and 30 diapers per week.

It means about 300 minutes spent in the car each week driving to and from a charter school for which I've put in approximately 200 hours of volunteer time in the past year.

But that's not all.

I get and give at least 25 kisses and ten hugs every single day.

I hear "I love you." at least 10 times a day. And I get to say it even more.

I get to see dozens of smiles, kiss countless owies, heal broken hearts every day.

I get to read close to 21 bedtime stories and sing nearly 30 lullabies every week.

It also means that if each of my current children has only two children of their own, I'll have at least 8 grandchildren. And I hear they are worth all the effort.

So, it's not about the numbers, though the numbers are staggering when I think about it.

And I am certainly not complaining about numbers now. I know that, in 20 years, the numbers I'll be measuring are miles between me and each of my children, days I go without kissing them, years since they left home.

So with all of my counting today, I'm trying to mindfully count the most important thingss -- my blessings.